AFT 1839 NJCU’s Mooke is in tune with SXSW EDU
SXSW EDU 2023 recently rolled out its initial performance lineup, and among those scheduled to play in Austin, Texas, during early March is electric violist Martha Mooke, a member of AFT 1839 New Jersey City University.
Mooke, a full-time professor at NJCU, will present “Igniting the Imagination: Music & Creative Process” on March 8 at the Austin Convention Center.
While in Washington, D.C., last October to perform a solo version of her “Igniting the Imagination” program at the PopTech 2022 conference, Mooke was approached by a SXSW EDU program manager about coming to Austin.
“When I got the invitation to present at SXSW EDU,” Mooke says, “I asked if I could bring some of my students from NJCU, and everyone — especially the students — loved the idea.”
Her NJCU career began in 2017 as an adjunct professor; she became full-time in 2022 and is now the Strings Coordinator/Director of Multi-Style Strings. Mooke’s résumé also includes creating musical arrangements for such stars as Carly Simon and Sturgill Simpson, as well as performing with the likes of Elton John and David Bowie.
It’s her experiences with Bowie — Mooke worked with him onstage and in the studio during the early 2000s — that fuel “Igniting the Imagination.”
“Along with personal accounts, video interviews and musical reimaginations of Bowie songs, there’s also an improv aspect to the performance based on Bowie’s use of the ‘cut-up technique,’ ” Mooke explains. “The term — also used by William S. Burroughs — refers to the process of literally cutting up existing texts in order to generate new meanings with their rearranged pieces.”
Mooke says she plans to take advantage of her SXSW EDU badge to attend as much of the conference programming as possible, while encouraging the NJCU students accompanying her to do the same.